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Morning Joe

News/Business. Interviews with newsmakers and politicians; host Joe Scarborough. New.

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Santorum 53, Rick Santorum 45, Mississippi 30, Illinois 27, Obama 25, Us 24, Newt Gingrich 23, Gingrich 18, Michael Steele 14, Afghanistan 13, Mitt Romney 11, Johnson 11, Dick Vitale 10, Barack Obama 9, Willie 9, Pennsylvania 8, Dayton 8, North Carolina 8, Washington 8, Mike Barnicle 8,
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  MSNBC    Morning Joe    News/Business. Interviews with newsmakers  
   and politicians; host Joe Scarborough. New.  

    March 14, 2012
    3:00 - 6:00am PDT  

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we asked you what you're doing up at this hour. >> i'm up because hearing willie geist's voice in the morning keeps my dogs regular. time to take them out. >> come on. we've heard people in labor saying the sound of my voice induces labor, we hadn't heard that one about the dogs before. i got one more. an apology, a correction. here's a tweet, where's the love for dayton, ohio? i said that three times, they weren't in columbus, they were at the university of dayton in dayton, ohio, for the first four of those two great games. love you, dayton. "morning joe" starts right now. ♪ we did it again. people have said, you know,
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you're being outspent and, you know, everybody's talking about all the math and all the things that this race is inevitable. well, for someone who thinks this race is inevitable, he spent a whole lot of money against me for being inevitable. what the folks down there in spite of all of the odds, all the money being spent, all the establishment, all the establishment, being on the other side of this race you stood with a guy who comes from the grandson of a coal miner from the steel town of western pennsylvania, but you knew shared your values and was going to go out and work for you to make sure this country was free and safe and prosperous based on believing in free people and free markets, free economy, and, of course, the integrity of the family and >> rick santorum enjoying a big night in the republican
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primaries. just after 10:00 eastern time last night, santorum took alabama with 35% support, newt gingrich edged out romney for second place by just under 2,000 votes of the more than 600,000 cast. and just before 11:00 p.m. eastern time, an even tighter race in mississippi was called for santorum who took in 33% of the vote there. newt gingrich and then mitt romney followed with 31% and 30% respectively. and just within the hour, nbc news declared mitt romney the projected winner in the hawaii caucuses. won 40% of the vote, defeating rick santorum by 20 points. good morning, everyone, a live look at time square on this wednesday morning. it's march 14th. welcome to "morning joe." with us onset, we have msnbc and "time" magazine senior political analyst mark haleprin. we have national affairs editor for "new york" magazine john
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heilemann. "game change" boys. and former chairman of the republican national committee, michael steele. perfect morning to have you all onboard. willie, hello. >> wow. >> a couple of things went down last night. we -- mitt lost to rick santorum and to newt. right? >> third place in both states. >> that's not good, michael. >> not good. and they keep crying about the numbers, we've got the delegates and i think willie had the perfect quote for the day. you know, it's like you know, vote for me, i've got the math. it doesn't work like that. >> the math -- >> something like that. >> they keep talking about the math. >> well, they do, and the reality of it is, you're not going to waltz into the nomination with the votes in the back pocket. give all that to romney, fine, you're close to somewhere around 400 delegates short to actually the get the nomination.
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and with proportional voting coming up with everything else, unless he's pulling 50% to 60% of that vote, i don't know how he gets there. the only way it happens is if newt or santorum drops out of the race and that changes it. but as you can see from last night, i don't think anybody's going anywhere. there's no incentive to leave right now. >> mark and john before we get to exit polls and sound bites from last night, who do you -- what candidate won the headline last night? was this about newt gingrich? was this about mitt romney? or was this about rick santorum, mike? >> it's all about mitt romney. he's still -- he's a weak front-runner. still weak, still the front-runner. and he's got a chance now. i think if gingrich gets out, it may help romney. that's not the conventional wisdom. >> i don't think he will. >> i don't think he will either. but illinois is the big contest. the fact is, the romney campaign is in a message crisis. he stands for nothing now. what's on display is losing to
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santorum and talking about process. that campaign must change course if he's going to -- if he's going to get to tampa within hailing d i hailing distance. he's not close enough to put it away in tampa. >> john, about mitt romney, was this about rick santorum's big win? they say he swept the south. >> i'll say both, i think. the romney campaign badly managed expectations here. they let themselves get excited about the notion they might win one or both of these states and started talking about it too much. mitt romney saying rick santorum's campaign was at a desperate end. the early exit polls last night suggested that might have been true that he would win alabama at least and possibly mississippi. you know, they have everything that mark just said, i completely agree with, although you have to give credit to rick santorum, he has been in a lot of situations previously where he's led in those states, romney has outspent him and come back and won. in michigan, santorum led in no
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polling throughout mississippi this entire time. and these states were favorable for him, but he did what he had to do to stay level with romney in terms of the numbers and delegates and to capture narrative momentum, setting up illinois to be a big contest for him. had he lost one of those two states, this basically would have been over, i think, in terms of numbers and narrative. >> let me ask you a question, why, and i don't mean this rhetorically, why would rick santorum get out now at any point before the convention? if romney never gets to the delegates he needs and he can keep going, santorum, with money and support. why would he get out? >> he's not. there's no incentive at all designed into this system right now for them to get out. for him to get out or for newt for that matter. newt made it clear, we're going to compete in tampa. that doesn't sound like someone planning it out in the next couple of weeks. and illinois's now the fourth big event we're gearing up for in this thing.
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so we're going to have a few more of those. i suspect california's going to be a big event. that's at the end of the game. so the reality for someone like santorum, he's well positioned himself to stay competitive. he's going to have newt nipping at his heels. there's no doubt about that. i suspect if he gets the right momentum flow, he'll pull some of that away from newt. >> speaking to supporters from the upcoming state of louisiana, rick santorum said he will continue to defy the odds in this race. >> the time is now for conservatives to pull together. the time is now to make sure, to make sure that we have the best chance to win this election and the best chance to win this election is to nominate a conservative to go up against barack obama who can take him on on every issue. >> we want to make sure that everybody knows we're campaigning everywhere there are delegates because we are going to win this nomination before that convention.
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>> what will become a challenge is we'll have three or four days of the news media and they'll say why doesn't gingrich quit? and these are the people that said last june i was dead. they recycle this every six weeks. between santorum and myself we'll get over 2/3 of the delegates and the so-called front-runner will get less than a third. i believe after the primaries are over, it'll be obvious that the so-called front-runner, in fact, didn't get there and we'll be in a whole new conversation. >> no, he's staying in too. mitt romney did not speak publicly after the polls closed last night, but the campaign put out a statement congratulating rick santorum while quickly pivoting the focus to romney's lead in overall delegates. they keep talking about the math. as of midnight even before hawaii was called, mitt romney had over 200 more delegates than santorum. earlier in the day, the former massachusetts governor argued the math simply doesn't add up for rick santorum. >> senator santorum is at the desperate end of his campaign
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and is trying in some way to boost his prospects and frankly misrepresenting the truth is not a good way of doing that. >> he's far behind in the delegate count. he's far behind in the popular vote count. if you look at the math at how many votes he'd have to win, it's a difficult road for him. and at this stage, he was looking for some way to try to gain ground. i understand that. but i would hope that you'd use truth as one of the pillars of your strategy. >> michael steele, just educate me on this point of the process. is that the best strategy to be talking about math? i feel like it's saying you have no other choice because the math is in my direction even if you don't like me. >> and the delegates think otherwise. and that's clearly the case right now. can you imagine what will happen? you get to tampa and you have all of those conservatives in that hall who are going to make the final decision? and that's ultimately what this could potentially build into if romney isn't able to get close
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to that 1,144. the reality of it is. you're looking at that number, 401, add 382, that's the number of states that are left that are winner take all. how close are you now to 1,144 when you've got all of these other proportional states? you need a big chunk of those states coming out and if santorum keeps that momentum going, which he will and newt's going to be sitting there. >> he's doing it. >> he's doing an effective job of it. >> game this out. what's the most likely outcome? we go into illinois, if mitt romney wins there, he'll declare another big state victory and he will again say i'm the front runner, everybody else get out of the way. but again, he won't have the delegates. how do you see this playing out over the next weeks and months? >> look, as i said earlier, the conventional wisdom is gingrich being in hurts santorum. if you look at the exit polls,
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santorum would get a lot of the gingrich vote, but not all of it. a lot of supporters favor an establishment candidate, someone who can win, someone who is an economic conservative. not necessarily a social conservative. so gingrich, i think, will be marginalized now. i don't think he'll -- i'm not sure fully marginalized. that means another guy taking a chunk of delegates keeping romney from getting to a majority overall. if santorum can win in illinois, romney will be facing the biggest crisis he's faced so far. if he's able to win, illinois, though, doesn't put anybody away. >> how possible is a brokered? is it still in the echo chamber? >> possible. >> where the party has some kind of a white knight they put in the contest now. a contested convention where no one has 1,144 and among those four they have to make deals in terms of delegates that's, i think, now not inevitable, but now very likely. it's very likely. >> i suspect that's where you're
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going to head to this thing. you're going to have a 60-day window from the last contest to the convention delegates arriving in tampa. there's going to be a lot of negotiation going on in that time between romney and the other two campaigns to lock down. these are delegates who have to vote for the guy they came in the door with. that means either romney, santorum, et cetera. so beyond that, that's when it begins to open up. so the goal is, we know what the first ballot count's going to be, all right? the second ballot count you want to see the movement toward someone. and that's what the negotiations will be about. >> here's what i think the most important thing in the last 24 hours is. romney's argument that i'm going to have the most delegates and everybody should give up is on total deaf ears with the media and the republican party. that argument, they've tried for two weeks. it had a chance to succeed, it's dead. >> it's not working. >> it's nod working. >> and remember back in 2008, barack obama's team made a similar kind of argument. but the difference was that a
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lot of the democratic base loved barack obama. mitt romney's making a math argument when the best overwhelming number of the base does not want him. and they are rebelling against that argument. they're like, don't tell us it's over, don't tell us math is on your side. this is about conviction and ideology, and you're not going to deny us the chance to register our lack of affection for you, mitt romney, just because you say algebra is on your side. >> last night was significant, especially given newt gingrich's showing in this. let's look at the exit polling. white evangelicals made up 80% of mississippi voters. rick santorum won this demographic with 35% support in both states. newt gingrich followed with 32%. in mississippi, 39% said the candidate's ability to defeat president obama was most important. mitt romney won this group with 46% followed by newt gingrich with 30%. 22% of mississippi republicans said rick santorum had the best chance of winning in november.
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romney struggled to win over the republican base surfaced again last night with half the voters in mississippi and alabama saying the former massachusetts governor was not conservative enough. >> and what that tells me is the base is basically saying this vote that i get on primary night is about what i want, what i feel, and how i feel about these candidates. so, yeah, you'll see santorum and others win. but when push comes to shove, if not -- if romney is the nominee, i'm going to vote for that nominee because that's the guy i'm going to have to beat obama in the fall. so there's a bifr -- if that's who it is up against obama. >> so 22%, mark, say, this is in mississippi, 22% said he had the best chance to beat president obama. that was less than gingrich and less than romney, and yet he
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wins the state. >> amazing he could win the state with that number, right? look, santorum's speech last night was pretty good. he's still doing all this without running a particularly good campaign. he could have a sharper anti-romney message. could be doing more to convince people he's more electable. he's got more room to grow. we pretty much know what mitt romney can do. i think santorum can still do more and be better in that area. by being more compelling and saying i can beat obama. >> really interesting in mississippi in particular, you know, both campaigns have acknowledged. rick santorum's voters turned out. mitt romney had bad turnout in the places he needed to turn out voters. and there are two words that are the most important words are spring break. you've got a lot of people in mississippi, over $100,000, that's mitt romney's kcore constituency. those guys are down in the panhandle, taking the week off with their kids and those places where they have usually low turnout in mississippi, i think it hurt mitt romney. >> let's get one more story in here.
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looking toward november, president obama's reelection team is playing the underdog card. in an effort to boost fund raising, obama campaign manager jim messina sent a message last night titled "why the race is closer than you think." if a general election were held today, president obama would lose to mitt romney according to the latest poll from washington post and abc news. the poll shows the president and mitt romney in a statistical tie in a general election match-up. and the pro-obama super pac is also hitting up supporters for cash. the "new york times" is reporting that the president's top political adviser is pressuring supporters to donate to the democratic super pac to offset the big spending by republican super pacs. meanwhile, a new poll shows president obama's approval rating at 50%. this is in a sharp contrast to the cbs news/"new york times" poll we showed you yesterday that had the president's approval at 41%.
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michael steele, any of you guys, actually, the strategy of that e-mail being sent out to reporters. it seems a little, i mean we'll talk about the super pacs when we have more time because one could argue that's extremely hypocritical. and also you could argue there's no other choice. >> one could argue. >> i was going to make that argument. >> and i'll give you the chance and i don't want to cut you off. we don't do that here. but seriously, the strategy should say, hey, we're looking like we're losing. >> the white house -- >> you would know more than me. >> in the abstract, the white house did not fully engage on the real act until there was a de facto republican nominee. one is the calendar is just moving forward. the lateness of it. they're getting a little edgy and itchy. the other is, things are not going great. there are some bad poll numbers, the gas prices, they want to start fighting back so they're
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unfurling some stuff i think they hadn't planned to do. >> we spent a lot of time talking about that poll number. 41% approval. some others, including at 50%. >> normally that poll some think oversamples democrats. i don't think he's at 41%, certainly a lot closer to 50%, just about 50%. still not a great place to be, but better than 41%. >> generally a solid poll, the "new york times." >> generally. and you'll have to see what the poll shows in the next couple of weeks. >> amazing opportunity for the republican party just being flushed down the toilet. in terms of being able to put forward a message and a conversation. >> oh, message, communication. >> the math. >> we're only talking about math. let's not talk about -- >> obviously i have different world view and a different
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ideological standpoint. and it may be -- >> no, i don't think so. >> they're wasting it. >> i think they've been off-message since 2011. and i think that right now you're right, this is an opening, this is an opportunity. irrespective of what's happening in the presidential primary, the party as a whole can begin to crystallize around core themes. that hasn't happened, the president is filling that void with his message telling union workers i'm with you, i believe in you. that resinates beyond that core constituency for him. a lot of folks looking at it, particularly independents and they move toward that kind of message when there's nothing else to counter balance it. >> coming up, arkansianna huffington, and later, we'll compare march madness brackets with dick vitale. how about you take it. i love that. i can't wait to meet him. up next, mike allen has top take aways from last night's results.
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but first, bill karins with a check on the forecast. good morning, mika. breaking news off the coast of japan. we had a sizable earthquake. a 6.8 magnitude. almost a year to today after the horrible one with the big tsunami. thankfully no big tsunamis expected with this one. those were almost magnitude 8 or above 8. that's a big difference. we'll watch it to see if anything develops. maybe local tsunamis, but nothing like a year ago. in the u.s., lower 48, feels like june out there and it will today and through the upcoming weekend. the exceptions out there on the west coast. and the reason why, the jet stream is in like a june or july type position well up into canada. very rare to see it that far to the north. and here's the result, temperatures near 80 today in washington, d.c., baltimore, 70s from philly to new york. 60s all through new england. and look at chicago today, 80 for you, 82 from kansas city to st. louis, denver at 72. look at this, it continues even into tomorrow. really not going to look at much in the way of any change around
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the country. looks like the warmth is here to stay. i probably jinxed myself, but that's what i'm saying for now. you're watching "morning joe" brewed by starbucks. today i'm talking to people about walmart's low price guarantee. every week they lower thousands of prices and check over 30,000 competitor prices. check out that low price. you want to grab one? grab two. [ male announcer ] that's the walmart low price guarantee! see for yourself how much it can save you. but is she eating sugar this week? maybe she wants the all natural, zero calorie stuff. but if you're wrong, you're insinuating she's fat. save yourself. it's only natural. how they'll live tomorrow. for more than 116 years, ameriprise financial has worked for their clients' futures. helping millions of americans retire on their terms.
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here's what we're working on for iwitness news first at 4:00. why victoria beckham says she's just like any other mother. and could tight clothes be harming your health? we'll have a new report. also the surprising number of people in one country who admit to sleeping with a teddy bear. >> oh, my god. >> are your tight clothes harming your health? >> almost certainly. something certainly is. >> too snug. >> that's like a news you can't
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use, but in real -- >> tight clothes, sleeping with teddy bears? >> yes. >> you know mike barnicle sleeps with a teddy bear, right? what's he doing here? alex? >> put the teddy bear down. >> are we going to have him on? >> we might. >> that is so awkward. it happens once in a while. >> he's early for fallon. or late for fallon. >> he's disoriented. let's take a look at the morning papers. "new york times" for 244 years, the inpsyencyclopedia is going f print. it's the reality of a digital age and competition from sites like wikipedia. it was accounting for just 1% of their business. >> remember the old door-to-door salesmen? >> i do. that's how old i am!
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i don't know why you'd remember that. >> i don't remember, but i've heard about them. david petraeus was in turkey this week meeting with top officials about regional security, including the situation with turkey's neighbor syria. let's go to the "financial times," the dow jones will open at the highest level since 2007 after reports from the fed yesterday found most of the nation's banks would be able to survive after another -- to survive another severe recession. a notable miss, citigroup who failed to show they could keep funds above the mandatory level. from the "trenton times," the capital of new jersey has moved forward with an emergency purchase of toilet paper and hand towels. >> oh. >> at issue, a stalemate between the city council and the mayor's office over how much to spend on paper products. >> really? >> paper supply was expected to run out by the end of this week, mika. >> okay. >> you'll be interested to know, which could've forced the city to shut down public buildings.
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>> thank you for that. that's awesome. >> now you know. >> thank you, willie. >> i feel like i can move on with my day now. i know everything. >> were your tight clothes harming your health? >> apparently they are. let's go down to "politico." mike allen with a look at the playbook. good morning. >> hey, good morning, guys. >> let's talk about what happened last night, new insight into mitt romney's game plan after two losses last night, he did win hawaii but lost alabama and mississippi. what's their plan going forward? >> well, and won american samoa, don't forget that. >> yes, of course. >> they are very aware of the message crisis that mark haleprin talked about at the top. and after talking to a bunch of campaign folks, we boiled this down to mitt romney's five-point survival plan. he's going to keep the team. he has a bunch of stories in the next hours and days about a shake-up in boston. at the moment there's no such plan, we think he might layer in an expert in hunting for
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delegates. this race is now a county-by-county knife fight. second, a bolder message from mitt romney, the base is just not buying the message now. we're going to hear, for instance, look for him instead of talking about replacing barack obama, he's going to talk about defeating obama. he's going to talk more about his own economic plan, cutting taxes and spending, more sources of energy, and pivot to talking more about obama. there's two thoughts about obama. one, as you suggested when you were talking about the messina e-mail, both campaigns know that the clock is ticking. they know they have an uphill race against obama. they want to get started. also, if he can marginalize santorum, try to ignore santorum, he hopes that will become a self-fulfilling prophesy. and, even though mark haleprin says it's not working, he's going to keep talking about delegate math. that's what he's got. it is true he's got the upper hand there, but not an inspiring message. delegate math versus ronald
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reagan. >> illinois, you say, is the new michigan, mike allen, that takes place on tuesday. what do you mean when you say it's the new michigan? >> they thought they could take a breather last night. they thought finally a race they didn't have to win. but your analysis at the top is right, rick santorum wins that, he's huge. mitt romney's ahead in the polls there. but he's been waning. he was down notably in a big "chicago tribune" wgn poll. and now he doesn't look like a winner. so illinois is now an expensive state, romney's already spent $1 million there, we're going to see a bunch of spending between now and next tuesday. >> michael steele, mitt romney's got to get a message or get back on a message. what is his one-line argument. if he can get off the math, what can he do to inspire his supporters to inspire his fundraisers? what is the justification, the rationale he should be president. >> hell if i know.
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>> he could say i'm the tush around guy and i can turn around this country. >> but that's the point. the initial reaction is at this stage, i don't know, right? but the core of it is, he can make that argument. he has experience as a governor, of dealing with budgets and the realities that people face every day. talk about that experience. don't affect being a candidate in the south or running wherever you happen to be. be the guy that everyone knows you to be. someone who cares about folks, cares about the country, has that plan, talk about that. don't worry about being stiff. we get the stiff thing. wear what you've got on well in terms of your message to the voters out there. and people won't have that initial reaction of hell if i know. >> mike's point about the much stronger message, i'm going to defeat barack obama versus i'm going to replace barack obama that does not sound like a big difference. but i will say, mitt romney needs to have a message but so does rick santorum. this race in illinois is going to be an economics driven race.
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it's a race where, you know, you know illinois. there's a big part of down state illinois that's far south, but really the state is not. this is not a culturally conservative state. there's not been a competitive primary for a long time on the republican side. rick santorum has had a huge problem driving a message and he's got to do that too. i think both candidates have message challenges in illinois. and the one that drives the best message on the most important issue in the country right now is the candidate that's likely to win. >> and it's not a negative message. they've got to chill on the negative ads and talk about what mitt romney as president will do for the country. >> we'll see if they pivot over the next six days. thanks, mike. and mr. cameron got a great show. two games, two great comebacks, historic comebacks. that's next in sports. people with a machine.
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president obama was at one of the games in dayton, ohio, tonight. he brought david cameron with him. it's part of a cultural exchange program. they go to the basketball game now in america. and in july, the prime minister has invited obama to england to
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participate in a soccer riot. so that'll be fun. >> all right. time for some sports. we turn to the first night of the ncaa tournament. these are the play-in games. the first four before the big dance kicks off for real tomorrow. western kentucky and mississippi valley state fighting for the right, unfortunately, to play kentucky. dayton, ohio, decided this one. president obama bringing along with him british prime minister david cameron, front-row seats, the game was ugly, low-scoring in the first half. during a half-time interview with cbs, the president addressed the team's shooting woes. >> both teams are shooting terribly and the -- you know, may be nerves, these are not teams that normally end up coming to the tournament. but some of this is just going to be somebody getting a little -- a few open shots outside to open things up because it's real clogged. >> mississippi state's kevin
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burwell was listening. president obama sitting right next to him, knocks down the three and gives him a little look. that one was for you, mr. president. western kentucky down by 16 at one point, rallying back with 37 seconds left. t.j. price takes the shot and one, puts the hill toppers up. a wide-open three, would've tied the game from burwell, but throws up an air ball. western kentucky comes all the way back to win 59-58, the 16-point comeback in the final five minutes a tournament record. as i said, they now meet kentucky, the number one seed in all of the tournament. byu also in dayton vying for the chance to face marquette in the next round. byou went on a huge rally in the second. the jumper to make it a one-point game. byu took the lead. up three with 30 seconds to go. trying to force it inside for a
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quick basket, byu goes coast-to-coast. the cougars pull off the single biggest comeback in the history of the ncaa tournament winning 78-72, they were down 25 points in that game. big setback for syracuse and possibly for your bracket if you haven't filled it out already. you might want to change your plans. the starting center mellow ruled ineligible. reports say for academic reasons. the 7-footer their leading rebounder and the defensive player of the year in the big east. for the fourth straight year, president obama filling out an ncaa tournament bracket. you'll recall in 2009 he correctly picked north carolina to win it all. this year, the president has kentucky, ohio state, missouri, and north carolina making it into the final four. he'll give out his full bracket later on today. dick vitale will be on this very
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show in a matter of hours to reveal his picks, break it down, and hopefully to tell us that vanderbilt is going to win it all. coming up in a few minutes, arianna huffington joins us here onset. we'll be back with mika's must-read opinion pages. not in this economy. we also have zero free time,
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as we bump into must reads. the winner boards for alabama, mississippi, and hawaii, a big night for rick santorum. let's get to the must-read opinion pages. got a couple here for you. just for fun, i'll read maureen dowd out of the "new york times." don't tread us on us. the attempt by republican men to
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wrestle american women back into chastity belts has not on breathed life into president obama, it has roused and riled hillary. and that could turn out to be the most dangerous thing the wildly self-destructive gop leaders have done. women who assumed that elected obama would lift all minority votes are beginning to think maybe he's not enough. if a desire of these conservative male leaders to yoke women is this close to the surface, if they could debase women even though it could lead to their own political demise, women may require more than obama. if women are so vulnerable, they may need one of their own. hillary, that speech she made over the weekend was quite good. >> on fire. >> on fire. >> en fuego. >> what are the odds she runs for president in 2016? >> 99.4%. >> a little lower, because i think if joe biden wins
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reelection and runs, she's must less likely to run. >> v.p.? i keep hearing that bubbling around. "washington post," this is kathleen parker. southerners deserve better from candidates. morning y'all, said mitt romney recently to a mississippi crowd. he started his day off right. he said with a biscuit and some cheesy grits. that would be cheese grits, but never mind. would he greet a jewish audience at a community center with oy, i enjoyed my bagels this morning. actually, he might. romney isn't the only guilty party, just the most recent. even barack obama loses his last syllables south of the mason-dixon, but the more he tries to get down with people, the more he highlights the perception that he can't. why try? like michael steele said earlier, why not be yourself? or you could try and do what
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hillary clinton did in the pennsylvania primary -- or was it indiana? thank you, alex. look at her, she took shots. now, that's connecting, right? do you remember that, guys? >> romney can't do that. >> right. he can't even do that! >> that's not a visual you want. >> it worked for her for a while there. actually, we do have something out of pennsylvania. quinnipiac poll. what are they saying at this point? >> yeah, head-to-head rick santorum to romney, no gingrich, head-to-head, santorum crushes him 52%. >> interesting. >> you would hope that would be the case. >> well, he did ultimately lose there. >> although among republicans, you would think that rick santorum should win that race by a wide margin. >> yeah, michael steele, the connecting issue. kathleen parker's piece, you bring it up, but who is he? he's not comfortable being himself. we've all spent time with mitt romney. very nice person. >> he is -- >> incredibly brilliant and lovely family. >> i've seen him in settings
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where he's just captivated the room and comes off very perso l personal, the voice isn't high-pitched. it's not strained. he's relaxed and very comfortable with himself. his problem is translating that to the wider audience when you're looking at him through your television, you feel that. and that's something rick santorum is able to do. newt gingrich even has that ability to kind of draw you in and fire you up on certain arguments. i think the problem with romney in my estimation, he's been over managed. i think a lot of folks, a lot of washington types have put in his ear, this is how you need to do this and he's gotten lost. and now if this shake-up that mike allen was talking about is to come, they're really serious about moving this thing forward, just peel it back and let him come out and be himself. step into who he is. and just be comfortable with that. don't sit there and worry about how people are going to, you know, perceive what you say. because they won't perceive it any differently than how you're
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saying it. in other words, be yourself, say what you feel in your heart. tell people where you're going to lead the country. take on obama directly. don't worry about the other guys. they'll take care of themselves. their fight is going to be their fight. but right now, you're not translating with a significant number of the base. the folks that will be voting. >> one thing the romney campaign keeps on doing and mitt romney is talking about the math. and let's look at it and let's read jennifer ruban's piece in the "washington post." the silver lining for romney is that gingrich vowed to stay in the race. it is the competition between gingrich and santorum that will help keep santorum's delegate count low allowing romney to maintain or lengthen his lead. for romney, puerto rico on sunday, 23 delegates, winner take all, in illinois next tuesday become important for both the combined 92 delegates and the need to squash santorum.
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his rivals certainly won't be going away any time soon. i think the point here is that gingrich staying in, bad for rick santorum, potentially good for romney? >> again, i'm not sure that's true. because as gingrich takes his share of delegates in places where he's the preferred option for some voters, it makes it less and less likely romney will get to the majority of delegates he'd love to have before tampa. one quick thing about what michael said about the private romney being better. romney's a lot like gore in that respect, when people spend time with his privately, love him, yo the is he's snake bit. if you're a front-runner who is snake bit, you're held to a double standard. gingrich and santorum are saying stuff every bit as mockable every day as he's saying. he's got to have a margin of error to say things and not have them be mocked or not have that be the dominant story of the day. he's got to figure that out. >> this goes to a point that mark and i have made repeatedly.
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i think part of that has to do with the fact that mitt romney's relationship with the press is as bad as it is. and the press has never liked him. they pick on him. they have a rooting interest in keeping this thing going in the horse race way. but the truth is that the national press wants to seize on mistakes he makes. they want to seize on examples of his inauthenticity. it comes partly as a media relations problem. >> and that's the thing, he's not the first politician to pander. we talk about hillary clinton, when she was running for senate. i've always been a yankees fan except when i was a cubs fan. >> and drinking those shots. >> of course. of course. everybody does it. but he's got this narrative built in. there's one other poll quinnipiac from the state of pennsylvania. this is head-to-head with president obama inside the state of pennsylvania. so you have santorum in a statistical tie with the president, romney six points back. michael steele, what do you see there? >> i'm looking at the
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gingrich/paul numbers, i'm a little bit fascinated by that that the president does five better against gingrich versus paul. but santorum and the president on his home turf, close, yeah, i think pennsylvania's going to be in play for the republicans this fall. that's a good thing. i think regardless of who the nominee's going to be, a lot of that blue collar is going to come out and it's going to be part of the conversation. and the president has that argument, but i think we can make it even better and we'll win pennsylvania. i've said that from the beginning. >> our friend joe scarborough would say pennsylvania's fool's gold. leave it alone. it's for democrats. keep it right here on "morning joe." [ female announcer ] eyes feeling overworked? discover visine® tired eye relief with hydroblend™, only from visine®. just one drop instantly soothes and revives tired, overworked eyes. and comforts them for up to ten hours.
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oh, yes, tell me it's time. >> it's time for news you can't use. despite the y'alls, the talk of the grits, newt gingrich and mitt romney couldn't top rick santorum last night in alabama and mississippi. so we take a look back at the week in political pandering. >> yes. ♪ >> folk, i gotta tell ya, mitt's not just walking the walking, he's drawling the talk. >> i like grits, things are
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strange things happening to me. morning, y'all. i got started right this morning with a biscuit and cheesy grits. >> and he killed himself a bear when he was only 3. >> last night i was in mississippi, by the way, and i had cactus for the second time. it was delicious. >> mitt is the right guy for the job. if you think cloverfield was a movie about your butler, you might be a romney. >> wouldn't you love to hear him sing "sweet home alabama"? ♪ sweet home alabama >> got kin here in mississippi. ♪ sweet home alabama . >> i heard you got the best grits. i look forward to having some. >> i like grits, i like cheese grits, grits with gravy, a number of ways -- with shrimp, with cheese, with gravy, i get it. i even understand cheese grits.
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i even understand shrimp and grits, how's that? >> if you don't understand grits, there's a high likelihood you don't understand the rest of the south either. >> morning y'all. good to be with you. >> good to be with you. so it paid off for -- >> please stop. >> can you understand the alabama thing? >> he was on stage asking the lead singer of alabama to sing "sweet home alabama." >> what else? >> i've got to give you one more clip. because will farrell was on the "daily show." and as he usually does, he walks in, does something absurd and never talks about the movie. >> not all comedians wear helmets? what do you mean where did i find this? i'm a comedian and i'm wearing my comedy helmet. >> how long do you think you and
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i could bet you'll wear this helmet? how long would you do it? would you wear this helmet for 24 hours? >> easily. >> people don't talk enough about concussions and comedians. >> they really don't. and -- >> it's about time. >> that's why i'm doing a series of psas. >> apparently found the helmet in the green room and put it on and went with it. his new movie which is all in spanish. will ferrell speaks spanish throughout the movie. >> look who's here. he better hide. >> just have him on the show. >> like community service. >> mike barnicle coming up next. also, arianna huffington joins the conversation when "morning joe" comes right back. >> let's just --
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♪ we did it again. people have said, you know, you're being outspent and, you know, everybody's talking about all the math and all the things that this race is inevitable. well, for someone who thinks this race is inevitable, he spent a whole lot of money against me for being inevitable. >> rick santorum enjoying a big night in the republican primaries. just after 10:00 eastern time last night, santorum took alabama with 35% support.
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newt gingrich edged out romney for second place by just over 1,000 votes. and just before 11:00 eastern time, an even tighter race in mississippi was called for santorum who took in 33% of the vote there. newt gingrich and mitt romney followed with newt in second with 31% and 30% respectively. and just a few hours ago, nbc news declared mitt romney the projected winner. he won 45% of the vote, defe defeating rick santorum by 20 points. withing back to "morning joe." mark haleprin and john -- no michael steele is still with us. and joining us onset, you know, we had given you a few days off. mike barnicle. >> i couldn't get a cab this morning. >> right. okay. >> so here he is. we also have the co-founder of the "huffington post" arianna huffington. you're going to be showing us
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the first huff post video coming up this block. i look forward to watching that. we'll play it. arianna, great to have you onboard. let's get right to what happened last night. we talked last hour. this was all about mitt romney, first, rick santorum, second. newt gingrich hanging in there. >> mitt romney would've loved to have won those two last night, it would have put him on the strong path to the nomination. now he's got one or two guys who are going to stay in this for the foreseeable future, probably all the way to the convention, and he has to find a new way to win illinois is the big faceoff. if he can win illinois, he's back on track. if he loses it to santorum, he is in the biggest crisis he's faced so far. >> when you look at the results last night, mike barnicle, how would you characterize what happened? >> my instinct would be he's still the front-runner. he's got to behave more like a front-runner. he's got to drive his story more. he's got to -- he's got to win illinois. he's got to win illinois. he still has more money and more
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organization than certainly rick santorum has. i don't know what happens with gingrich. but it's a troubled campaign. mitt romney has to define himself much better than he has thus far. you hear people who know mitt romney talk about him how he is in public, in private as opposed to how he is in public. he's got to loosen up a bit and be more mitt romney than this controlled robotic-like device that people have seen on the campaign trail. >> arianna huffington, we keep hearing each primary, mitt romney must win this, he must win this. he must win last night, he did not. how many more of those can we -- >> now he's the new michigan, right? he must win illinois. he's probably going to tell us he's friends with the owners of the chicago cubs. i think it's a series of gaffes that have defined him in a way because they have stressed his inauthenticity. and the fact that the base is just not that into him. and wherever you have a preponderance of the base as you
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had in alabama and mississippi with evangelical christians dominating the turnout, it shows. and of course, the delegate math is still on romney's side. and that's why i agree with mike, probably he's still going to be the one who wins the nomination. >> pivoting to the republican at the table, michael steele, you hear this criticism of mitt romney and his failure again last night. do you disagree with anything anyone here has said? >> no, i think it sums it up very well. and i think, you know, mark really kind of nails it down by saying, you know, this is a definitional moment for his campaign. in how he moves forward. yeah, i mean, illinois's going to be a big deal. it shouldn't be, but it is. and i still need folks to focus on the fact that, yes, to your point about the delegate numbers, they're there, but they're not there. they're just within his grasp. and the longer these individuals
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stay in place, whether it's newt or santorum and definitely both, it makes it harder for him to get to that magic 1,144. he's got to have a break away moment, to your point, mike. where he comes outside of this old robotic shell. and he really says, look, i want to have a conversation with america about its future, about its family, about its communities. and this is what i want to do for you as president. and that begins to move the dynamic. the base has always been looking for -- there's been no surprise. you know this, the base has not been ignoring this process. they've said very clearly what they're looking for. he just hasn't been able to deliver. >> this conversation you're calling for is not happening at any level. mississippi is the poorest state in the nation. 22% on food stamps. that issue was not anywhere to be scuzzed. a
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discussed. it's a republican primary. >> they -- >> well, afghanistan, now, again becoming more of a hot issue because of the latest tragic incident. and what we see even republican candidates now questioning our presence there. so we may see more troop withdrawals than we expected. but it's not part of the campaign discussion. >> what's the strongest element of romney's campaign right now in the wake of last night? what still separates him in terms of his campaign strength? >> he's had three must-win states so far. last night were not must-win for him. they would have been helpful. florida, michigan, ohio, he won all three. i think the track record of winning when he has to. he has to win illinois or his campaign will be in crisis. money is his greatest strength. >> what part within the republican story, within the republican primaries does the fact that almost in every state
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people say they think romney has the best chance to beat barack obama. what part does that play in the strength of his candidacy? >> well, i mean, i think for -- in terms of his ability to go out and go beyond this moment, i think, you know, it definitely helps for him to make the argument that i can put together the resources, the organization, and the strength that you're going to need to go up against obama. i think people get that, they understand that. but it's what i was saying earlier about the fact that there's a process here in terms of those delegates. yeah, you know, i get you can do all that, but i'm not feeling it. so i'm going to vote for what i feel right now and the guy i'm feeling is rick santorum. the guy i'm feeling is newt gingrich. you know, to your point at the end of the day, yeah, we get to the convention, he has 1,144, he gets the nomination, and that base is going to rally around because defeating obama is the ultimate objective. but they may or may not be happy about that up until this point. but at that point, it
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crystallizes. the problem romney has is getting to that -- >> give them a reason to be happy. white evangelicals made up 80% of mississippi voters and 75% of alabama voters. rick santorum won this demographic with 35% support in both states, tapping into what you just said, michael. newt gingrich followed with 32%. in mississippi, 39% said a candidate's ability to defeat president obama was most important. mitt romney won this group with 46% followed by newt gingrich with 30%. 22% of mississippi republicans said rick santorum had the best chance of winning in november. romney struggled to win over the republican base, surfaced again last night. with half the voters in mississippi and alabama saying the former massachusetts governor was not conservative enough. and i want to back to arianna's point, michael steele, and say there is a conflict here it seems between the candidates, especially mitt romney talking about what truly plagues most of
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the country and individually these states in different ways in mississippi. the unemployment rate, the poverty level, the obesity crisis, the health care crisis there. it's one of the fattest states in the country. this is something that the candidates could be talking about to connect and to try and address what they're feeling, to feel their pain, if i may. does it then ultimately hurt them with the base in some way? >> i don't think it does. that base -- that base are those people. the base is part of that group that you just described. you know, that is unemployed, that is poor, that's hurting. and i think a more effective argument for someone like romney to make is spending less time to try to tear down his opponents and more time to talk about how he led as a governor in difficult times, how he led as a businessman in difficult times and how those resources and energies are going to be important to help this community to lift itself up and move forward. that's what my presidency's about. and that message is lost. >> he could be asking the
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question, are you better off than you were four years ago? and a lot of people would have to answer no. especially in mississippi and alabama where he just campaigned. but he can't really ask that question because he doesn't have clear alternatives about how he would govern differently to create jobs, to bring back the economy. i mean, said yesterday that the current rate of job creation is going to take us 13 years to get back to pre-recession job numbers. so the crisis is very real even though we have some temporary good news from the -- from the jobs market. >> jobs. again, okay, so to feed upon that and michael, you're the expert, you would be potentially advising members of your party as to how to handle something like this. >> you saw how that worked out. >> but you probably learned a lot along the way. >> absolutely. >> i'm seeing in the sound bites we're running, hello, y'all, and
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talk about grits. and there's more in the speeches than the sound bite cuts down. the attempt to connect on this yukity yuck level. and here's how i could make it better because these are -- why wouldn't that work? what am i missing? >> my view of it is, it would work. and my approach -- my approach to this campaign would be flipping the script completely, playing against type. and having that seriousness come forward. i mean, again, i ran for the u.s. senate, ran for lieutenant governor, i ignored my opponents. it was not about them, it was about the people in front of me, the people in maryland. the more as you as a candidate are able to do that, the easier it is for you to connect for the question you were raising about that ability to get out there and beyond the stage sort of mechanical process. romney hasn't been able to do that in a genuine way.
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i think if he got up on the stage and looked folks in the eye and go, you know, things are tough right now. >> and i know your state. >> i know your state. i know your people. and it's not about grits and not about calling y'all. it's about calling americans who are living through tough times. that's a different conversation than the one we've seen him have up until now. >> the weakness romney is running up against is pressuring him in ways. they're not pressuring him to talk about issues because they're barely doing it and they have no policy operations or much creativity on those issues. even gingrich for all of his reputation for being a policy guy. the other thing hurting him is, when you lose to weak people, you look really weak. this is not barack obama losing to hillary clinton, this is mitt romney losing to rick santorum, no money, not much of a message, that hurts him badly. >> you also made an important point, mark, last hour in that his relationship with the press, the traveling press especially with him every day.
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he -- his gaffes are enormously expanded in the eyes of the reader or people watching television. much more so than santorum's gaffes or gingrich's gaffes. because they don't like mitt romney. and mitt romney to your point, michael, and to arianna's point, part of his problem seems to me just from looking at him from afar is that he is now most afraid of himself. it's almost like watching a kid who gets the lead part in a freshman play and knows he can do it but he's so nervous about uttering the wrong line at the wrong time that he's robotic up there instead of natural. >> and again, jovial in quotes. >> i have to tell you, last night, truth in packaging, bob kerry is an old friend of mine, former senator from nebraska, and i was watching two commercials he sent me last night to launch his campaign to be reelected to get elected again in nebraska.
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romney should watch one of those commercials. it's about coming home and running for the senate again. it's just bob kerry looking right into the camera and he's at ease, he's comfortable, and he's talking about four or five critical issues in the space of 60 seconds, that are critical to everyone living in nebraska. and it's very good and it's very natural. and it's a normal thing to talk about. >> seems like what people are looking for. >> i think what mike said is the key here. the way this campaign is being run, the fact that he's running against weak candidates is really diminishing him. with every primary, he seems smaller and less presidential, and the issues he's covering seem less important to people's daily lives. even just the gas prices, you know, gas prices are not just important in themselves. they're a symbol for the state of the economy. and they're not being put in that large of a context. they're not being treated as gas
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prices themselves and obama being blamed as though he himself contrary to what they believe about the free market, he somehow set the gas prices, which, again, contradicts everything they're saying about the role of government. >> but what makes them weak against romney, is the organization, the lack of organization and lack of money is not a lack of message, it's not a lack of vision, not a lack of connection. so, in other words, what those other two opponents of romney has are strengths and compared against what romney has in that area makes romney the weakest because it's never been about organization. it's never been about money. everyone knew coming into this race that the biggest dog on the block was going to be mitt romney. everybody knew. this is no surprise here. >> all that money, look at -- >> and what's beating him is not the organization. not the money. it's the ability of his opponents to lift themselves up
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by their own rhetoric, own vision, own ideas, irrespective of romney -- >> and to have a message. and speaking of messaging, campaign messaging. we want to show you the "huffington post's" first video a tongue in cheek look at obama's rhetoric compared to his style of governing in this recession. take a look. >> i always believed that this was a long-term project. it's going to take more than a year, more than two years, it was going to take more than one term. probably takes more than one president. >> my name is david lancer, i'm the chief strategist for the obama administration. here was the situation when obama took office. we're in the worst financial crisis since the great depression, the middle class was being squeezed like never before, the banks were collapsing, country was begging for something. here's what i advised the president to do. not much.
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>> that's it? not much. >> it's all about the long game. we'll continue making concessions to the right. eventually the three branches of government will disband, texas secedes, north dakota becomes part of canada, california falls into the ocean. the president is then cryogenically frozen, runs on an ultra conservative platform and elected ceo of america. everything we know and love about this country is destroyed. that's when we make our move. that's how you play the long game. >> all right. arianna, tell us about what was behind the making of this. >> so basically what's behind the making of this is it looks more and more likely obama will be reelected. anything can happen between now and november. but he's been very liking his adversaries. we're going to be covering this campaign in two ways. one is relentlessly covering the
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campaign and the second track is going to be covering obama versus obama. really what will determine the next four years is which obama is going to get elected. is it going to be the obama of the speeches, you know, who inspires, challenges the status quo? or is it going to be the obama who has governed the way he has governed which is basically settling for what he could do, settling for the easiest, and basically forgetting everything he said himself. remember, the fierce urgency of now. remember the greatest risk you can take is going to washington, playing the same games with the same players and expecting different results. larry summers, tim geithner, bi bill daly. he's most likely going to be the next president again. >> a fair question, mark haleprin. which obama will we see?
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>> i think the president may have a democratic congress or a republican congress, but i think addressing the jobs crisis, dealing with afghanistan, trying to figure out how to get reelected, all those things, trying to figure out how to get reelected and be better at dealing with those things in a second campaign is a real, real challenge. >> still ahead, we're going to talk march madness with dick vitale. and up next, david gregory and chuck todd join us to break down the results from last night. you're watching "morning joe" brewed by starbucks. wanna know the difference between a trader and an elite trader? it's this... the etrade pro platform. fast. beautiful. totally customizable. finds top performing stocks -- in three clicks. quickly scans the market for new trading ideas. it can even match options strategies to your goals and lets you see the potential risk and reward. and, it also comes with a dedicated elite service team.
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what will become a challenge is we'll have three or four days of news media and they'll say why doesn't gingrich quit? and these are people that said last june i was dead. they recycle this every six weeks. between santorum and myself, we'll get over 2/3 of the delegates and the so-called
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front-runner will get less than a third. i believe after the primaries are over it'll be obvious that the so-called front-runner didn't get there and it'll be a whole new conversation. >> welcome back to "morning joe." live look at washington, d.c. as the sun comes up this wednesday morning at 24 past the hour. and joining us now, the moderator of "meet the press," david gregory. and in washington, chief white house correspondent and political director and host of "the daily rundown" chuck todd. thanks for joining the table. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> i hear a lot of analysis talking about how newt gingrich didn't win the south. he should've won the south and that's -- but he beat mitt romney. should we start there? it's obviously a great night for rick santorum. what is this telling us about the so-called front-runner? >> look, i think that romney's got a problem. you know, this argument as you've been talking about this morning that math will carry the day is, you know, you can't win the head without winning the
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heart. maybe he will win the head in the end without winning the heart. >> where's the heart? >> well, the heart right now is in the conservative base is both anti-mitt romney and pro a couple of other guys. primarily santorum. i think he opens that space. i think there's no two ways about it. but it's primarily a rejection of romney. and i think that part of this. whatever happens. in a year when republicans were fired up and ready to go, were completely energized, they may have a nominee that they're saying, okay, well, this is the guy. okay. >> it seems the nominee is saying that, potentially. he's talking about the math as if -- >> and not a lot of excitement behind it. >> chuck, speaking of math, where are the numbers now? and where do they go forward? you know, the delegate totals. romney is still the front-runner? >> well, he's still the front-runner and still has the same and none of the percentages change. santorum still needs to win 65% of what's left because it appears out of -- after last
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night when you throw in, you know, as american samoa goes, so goes apparently the delegate count. it is anywhere from santorum netting all of three delegates from everything last night or romney actually winning the night on delegates when all is said and done depending on a couple of congressional districts in alabama. so it is -- as far as the math is concerned, this turned into a great night if you're mitt romney. you can lose two states, two states and still come out a wash on the delegate math, which is why david and i were talking about last week, santorum had a math problem last week, still has a math problem. and frankly in illinois next week, he'll have another math problem because he didn't file full delegate slates. we're seeing the organizational issue. but it goes to something and i heard mark haleprin say this before the break. the problem for romney is he is struggling to beat a guy that can't file full delegate slates in states of illinois and ohio,
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can't seem to -- he's yet to put a dollar on the air in illinois. they're not quite sure on any given day what the delegate count is, what the delegate rules are. and romney's losing to this guy. how is he going to go up against the best potentially organized reelection campaign in the history of american politics. >> you know, that's why i was late today because i could not get to sleep until american samoa came in. >> mike, that's cute, except you weren't even supposed to be here today. we're just putting you here because the ladies in the newsroom were uncomfortable. >> do you have the sense that it's a little bit like when bob dole was going to be the nominee, you knew he was going to lose. so we're all having this kind of big kind of excitement about this campaign and you have that sense of inevitability, not that romney will be the nominee, but that obama will be reelected. >> i do think he looks stronger
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now, but i feel like there are enough circumstances here and that obama is still fundamentally weaker than bill clinton was, than george w. bush was in 2004 that there's a built-in, you know, way for this to be a close election in the fall. but i do come back to the same place, which is if romney can't put away relatively weak competition. and, you know, if he's struggling on a message ultimately to beat obama and to beat his competitors, that this party that was so prime to take on obama has so much wind out of its sails that there's going to be an impact somewhere in his potency once he faces the president. >> michael steele? >> chuck, this is the $3.50 question here. is there anything that you see that would force newt out of this race, create that sort of -- >> what would be the writing on the wall? >> that coalition with santorum to really put the blockade on
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romney? or is this -- is newt riding this thing all the way out? >> i don't know, i thought going -- so far, four of the five states that have touched georgia have held primaries, and he's won one of them. he can't even win the border states of georgia, right? i mean, yes, he won the counties that touch georgia and the state of florida. lost the florida primary, lost the alabama primary, the tennessee primary. he can't even be the candidate of the georgia south let alone the actual south. north carolina's not going to be any kinder to him come may 8th, frankly. and so, i just -- if that doesn't chase them out, i guess you're right, i don't know what does. i would assume it's this idea that does he want to become treated like ron paul? you know, sort of at this point as a guy, you know, ron paul's won one contest in the virgin islands and newt gingrich has won two. right, it's sort of -- it's already off on the sidelines.
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can we go to a bigger question with mitt romney? every day it seems, you know, does he really -- has he ever answered the question, why i want to be president? we know why he wants to be the republican nominee. do we know why he's answered that fundamental question? and does he answer it every day? and you wonder if that's -- they've had a message problem i would argue since last summer and can't figure it out. >> he has, it was -- >> he can't answer that question given the context of the primaries he's involved in. to address that question and appeal to the primary voters he has to appeal to, he can't be mitt romney, which the question i want to ask you, david, off of that and off the bob dole in 1996, it might be easier for mitt romney to run against barack obama for president and more define himself as to who he really is than it is right now. >> i think if he can just
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survive on the math whatever it is. if he can get to being a fiscal conservative and a cultural moderate, a practical guy who is a turn-around artist who wants to take the fight on the economy to president obama, he becomes a more potent nominee and to the point i was making to arianna, he gets on ground where the president will have a harder fight. even if there's more confidence in the economy. it hurts romney, but ultimately, still the battleground. >> david, that's really the irony, that the economy is incredibly weak. you know -- >> right. >> and unemployment is still a huge crisis. foreclosures and millions of people out of work, out of jobs, graduates not being able to get jobs. but the republican candidates, none of them have been able to capitalize on this in a powerful way that will make people feel they could be a real alternative. >> well, and it's -- i mean, it's a problem. but i don't know they haven't captured it.bogged down in
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other things, one-on-one with the president on these issues, he can have that fight. >> chuck todd, just a final word from you because certainly the exit polls show mitt romney is struggling with the base. >> well, certainly the southern base. before last night, i guess the good news for romney -- the four previous culturally southern states he had gotten 28, 28, 28% and 26% respectively. he got up to 29% in alabama and up to 30% in mississippi. so that's the cheesy grits jeff foxworthy difference. these were never supposed to be states that were kind to them. and somehow they got the spin. they never were going to win these states and why they pushed the idea that they could i think they're going to question that. >> chuck todd, thanks very much. we'll see you on the "daily rundown" right after "morning joe." david gregory, if you can, stick around, coming up, leon panetta
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arrives overnight in afghanistan. will a string of setbacks in that country force the u.s. to rethink its strategy? we'll be back with much more "morning joe." [ female announcer ] if whole grain isn't the first ingredient in your breakfast cereal, what is? now, in every box of general mills big g cereal, there's more whole grain than any other ingredient. that's why it's listed first. get more whole grain than any other ingredient... just look for the white check.
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♪ afghanistan is a total and complete disaster.
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what are we doing? we have all of these horrible events taking place there. we can't even run our own country, let's get with it. get out of afghanistan. we've wasted billions and billions of dollars and more importantly, thousands and thousands of lives. not to mention all of these young men and women that come home and they really have problems. let's go, let's get with it, we need leaders that know what they're doing. >> he's right about afghanistan. that's one way of putting it. some headlines on that country this morning. defense secretary leon panetta is in afghanistan right now arriving overnight on an unannounced yet previously planned visit. this comes as u.s. and military investigators are looking into whether alcohol played a role in sunday's massacre of 16 afghan civilians. the army staff sergeant accused of the shooting spree confessed to the crime after returning to
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his military base. the motive is still unclear. there are reports that the soldier was having marital difficulties and recently received a troubling message from his wife. nbc news has learned the suspect was first spotted from the air by a search party as he crawled ro from the afghan village. the soldier could face a court martial and may face the death penalty if convicted. president obama addressed the incident yesterday from the white house. >> the united states takes this as seriously as if it was our own citizens and our own children who were murdered. we're heart broken over the loss of innocent life. i can assure the american people and the afghan people that we will follow the facts wherever they lead us. and we will make sure that anybody who was involved is held fully accountable with the full force of the law. >> the president says despite many recent setbacks, the military is in no rush to speed
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up the planned withdrawal of combat troops from afghanistan in 2014. >> and i think you look at this and ultimately the question is, what is the final chapter of this afghanistan war? the ability for the united states to strengthen a central government under hamid karzai, to secure the country, i think is falling by the wayside and the most dominant -- the most likely outcome is for the united states to try to neutralize the threat of terrorism and the taliban linking up with al qaeda. that's about the best we can do here in the final stage. >> and we're not really doing it. we need to acknowledge that while all war has had as we're seeing with this tragic incident, and necessary wars like in afghanistan are really amoral. to escalate, every day, we have more evidence of what a terrible decision it is. 60% of the american people think this war is not necessary.
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even gop candidates like newt gingrich are now saying we don't have the littwill or capacity t what we need to do there. the karzai government will just be as corrupt as it is now, the taliban will be as strong as it is now because they're there, they know they're going to be there forever and al qaeda is not in afghanistan. >> that's a sign of progress. if you have a war going on 11 years, more and more americans are opposed of the war, the war's going on too long. there have to be tangible signs of success before we can disengage. >> there are tangible signs of success that appear month to month to month, if our presence -- in helmand province, there's success, we leave helmand province, success recedes. they are trying to answer two or three questions. one, is -- can they define success? can this administration define success in afghanistan? two, is that definition dependent upon our lasting
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military presence? three, in a country where the median age is 18 years of age is the snapshot of afghanistan today given our involvement, will it be marginally different five years from today than it is today? the answer to those questions, we're home. >> any difference between leaving earlier rather than later? any difference? any way to get around ugly headlines? i don't think so. >> you do have to fear some kind of implosion. we see signs of implosion all around, but there has to be some level of stability that can hold for a while that we're satisfied can hold for a while. >> just real quick. i think americans are tired, as you noted, of the war. i think what you said sums it up. if you cannot define the mission and cannot explain what that victory looks like, that wariness gets more palpable. >> we are losing the war on hearts and minds, as well. the civilian death, not just most recently, but because of
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the drones and et cetera are costing us a lot. >> just horrific. david gregory, thank you very much. arianna huffington, thank you, as well. coming up next, the legacy of lbj. is the 2012 election about rethinking the policies of the nation's 36th president? that's next on "morning joe." i'm here at walmart with tiffany who drives around town looking for low prices.
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the civil rights act is a challenge to all of us. to go to work in our communities and states, in our homes and in our hearts. to eliminate the last injustice in our beloved country. i urge every american to join in
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this effort to bring justice and hope to all our people and to bring peace to our own. >> that was president lyndon baines johnson talking about the civil rights act of 1964. and joining us now the director of the presidential library and museum in austin, texas, mark is the author of the new book just out it indomitable will," and he's here to talk about that book. it looks fantastic. >> thank you. >> i can't wait to read it. you say in the book that he is largely misunderstood. let's start there. >> well, he is. he's one of the fascinating personalities ever to hold the oval office. and i think that most people think of johnson in a certain way. they think of him as ruthless and a political animal. and he was certainly those things. but they concentrate on the means of lbj the way that he got
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business done. they don't concentrate on the ends. what he got done ultimately through his sweeping reform during his tenure in the white house. >> you talk about the way he got business done. and there's discussion among many about his contradictions, some say multiple personalities. but was that part of the way he got things done? >> well, it was. he knew how to get certain things from certain people. and he treated everyone differently. there's no one being treated in the same way. and bob was an aide for president johnson said allowing for shades of subtlety, there was as many lbjs as the people that knew him. i look at the people who knew lbj and there are are perspectives on him and those myriad impressions give you a balanced perspective on who this person was and what he meant to this country. >> from speaking, interviewing all of these people who knew him intimately, i was looking at clark clifford on the list. and the major accomplishments,
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the society, no pun intended, great society-changing legislation that lbj helped pass to the senate and the house, how much of perhaps an inferiority complex that the president had about all these ivy leagues around him, how much did that have to do with our continued involvement in vietnam? >> well, i think he did resist the eastern establishment's focus toward europe in foreign policy. he decided to concentrate on asia. and so i think that had part to do with it. he said, look, asia is consequential, it matters. he was a proponent of opening china well before nixon did and actually proposed it to nixon during the transition. he focused on asia in a way that the folks in the northeastern establishment did not. so i think that's one distinction. it's interesting, you write a clip in the beginning of the segment about lbj talking about the civil rights act of 1964. and there's a great story that i relate in the book of lbj
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talking to the democratic senator from georgia richard russell. and he's talking to a friend and mentor of him. he's a fierce opponent of the civil rights act of 1964. and johnson realizes he's going to have to run over him in order to get the bill passed. and they have a very tense meeting in the oval office. and russell says, you know, you can pass this act. you have the legislative muster to do it. kennedy didn't, but you do. but i will warn you that you'll lose the democratic party to the south and you'll lose the election of 1964. and what happened is he did lose the party but won the election. and johnson said, look, i can deal with that. i can handle that. i'll pay any price, but we need to have this bill. and he got it. and that's political courage we simply don't see today. >> i first want to put in a plug for the lbj library and museum. it's an incredible institution, with all due respect to other
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presidential libraries. haleprin and i were down in austin. these guys really have it going on down there. congratulations on the book. and congratulations on the book. it's a fantastic institution. in the book you delve into johnson's phone calls a lot and you look -- you give a reflection of the personal kind of skills that he used to get things done. what are the things that you learn from those private conversations now public? >> well, as mika said, he dealt with everyone very differently, and you hear the intensity with which he does business. there's a great conversation on the vietnam transfer in which he says to george bundy, what the hell is vietnam to me? what does it mean to me? why should we be in vietnam? you can hear him agonizing over the war. this is not a warmonger. this is a man that wanted to figure out a way to get out of vietnam so we dhe did not want
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fight profoundly. you can hear him doing the bi business of his presidency. there's a great conversation with martin luther king where the two talk about getting the voting rights act passed. there was almost a conspiratorial relationship between the two of them where they are trying to figure out how to bring to the forefront the unjustices of the south particularly as it relates to the inability of people of color to vote. you got to get this out in front of people, in the media, if you do that, even people driving a tractor will say, it's not right, it's not fair. >> it's interesting, you make the point about how the two of them examining and johnson almost worked together and johnson's reliance on republicans particularly in the senate to get the bill passed, to get it accomplished. but then you move to the great society period of the johnson era and the role of government and we saw during his time that reduction in poverty from a national high to a respectable
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low, if you will. how does that translate today when you have the argument about the size and role of government and the creation of programs that don't seem to go away but, in fact, really trap people? is that sort of the legacy of the great society or should we be taking a different lesson from that johnson period? >> well, what i will say about johnson as it relates to poverty, you mentioned the war on poverty. we saw a reduction of poverty when he declared war on poverty from 20% to 12%. >> right. >> the biggest one-time reduction in the history of our country. i will tell you this, there was no one talking about poverty any more than in 1964 than when johnson declared war on poverty than there is today, but he decided there was something that needed to be done about it and he made people aware of the problem even though they might not have been. generating awareness about the problem and actually putting legislation in place to do something about the problem made people appreciate the -- a problem that they might not have been aware of earlier. >> the book is a must-read
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"indomninatable will" mark updegrove, thank you for being on the show. >> mika, thank you. >> we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] if you believe the mayan calendar, on december 21st, polar shifts will reverse the earth's gravitational pull and hurtle us all into space, which would render retirement planning unnecessary. but say the sun rises on december 22nd and you still need to retire, td ameritrade's investment consultants can help you build a plan that fits your life. we'll even throw in up to $600 when you open a new account or roll over an old 401(k). so who's in control now, mayans?
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♪ after midnight we going to let it all (l(ñq0♪ watch him punch holes in the president's so-called energy policy.
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>> look at his energy policy. what is his energy policy? you can't drive a car with a windmill on it. >> that's right. you can't drive a car with a windmill on it! because if you put a windmill on top of your car, then where does the dog go?%:x on tomorrow's show we're going to talk to dr. brzezinski, digger phelps and oscar winning actor adrienne brody will be on the show. the romney campaign said it's not worried about leaving the south empty-handed but if the candidate' arguments about the delegate map wearing thin. keep it here on "morning joe." ♪ we going to let it all hang out ♪ [ male announcer ] this is the network --
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♪ sweet home alabama the folks down there did in spite of all the odds, all the money being spent, all the establishment, all the establishment, being on the other side of this race, you've stood with a guy that comes from this grandson of a coal miner from a steel town of western pennsylvania you knew shared your values and was going to go out and work with you to make sure this country was free and prosperous based on a free people and a free market and a free economy and, of course, the
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integrity of family and the centrality of faith in our lives. rick santorum enjoying a big night in the republican primaries. just after 10:00 eastern time last night, santorum took alabama with 35% support. newt gingrich edged out romney for second place by just under 2,000 votes of the more than 600,000 cast, and just before 11:00 p.m. eastern time an even tighter race in mississippi was called for santorum, who took in 33% of the vote there. newt gingrich, and then mitt romney followed with 31% and 30% respectively. and just within the hour msnbc news declared mitt romney the projected winner in the hawaii republican caucuses. he won 45% of the vote defeating rick santorum by 20 points. good morning, it's 8:00 on the east coast as you take a live look at new york city. welcome back to "morning joe." back with us on set, mark halperin and john heilemann, we
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also have michael steele. a couple of things went down last night, mitt lost to rick santorum and to newt, right? >> third place in both states. >> that's not good, michael. >> not good. not good. they keep crying about the numbers. they got the delegates. the perfect quote of the day is vote for me, i got the math. it doesn't work like that. >> the math, they keep talking about the math. >> well, they do, and the reality of it is you're not going to waltz into this nomination in tampa with those delegates in your back pocket to have 1,144. they have eight states that it are winner take all, give those to romney, 99, you'll still be 400 delegates short of what you need to get the nomination and with proportional voting coming up with everything else, unless he's pulling 50% to 60% of that vote, i don't know how he gets there. the only way it happens is if
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newt or santorum drops out of the race and that changes it. as you can see from last night, i don't think anyone is going anywhere. there's no incentive. >> mark and john before we get to exit polls and sound bites from last night, who do you -- what candidate from the headlines, was this about newt gingrich, was it about mitt romney, was it about rick santorum? >> it's all about mitt romney, we've said it all cycle. he's a weak front-runner. he's still weak and he's still the front-runner. if gingrich gets out it may help romney, that's not the conventional wisdom. >> i don't think he will. >> i don't think he will either. the big contest is the fact is the romney campaign is in a message crisis. he stands for nothing now. he has some strengths but they're not on display. what's on display is losing to santorum and talking about processed. that campaign must change course if he's going to get to tampa within hailing distance of the most delegates. almost certainly have the most but he's not right now on track
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to be close enough to put it away in tampa without a lot of cash. >> john, was it about mitt romney or rick santorum's big within? they say he swept the south. >> i would say both, i think. the romney campaign badly managed expectations, they got excited about winning one or both states and talked about it too much. rick santorum said that the mitt romney campaign was at a desperate end, and that he might win alabama and mississippi. they have everything that mark just said i completely agree with, although you have to give credit to rick santorum, he has been in situations in a lot of states previously where he's led mitt romney in those states, romney has outspent him and come back and won, and we saw it in ohio and michigan. santorum led in no public polling in mississippi throughout the whole time, and santorum, the big question could he close. they were favorable to him but he did absolutely what he had to do, to stay in this race, to win the base. to stay level with romney in terms of numbers coming out of
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those states and in terms of delegates and to capture narrative momentum setting up illinois to be a really big contest for him. had santorum lost one of the two states it would have been over in terms of numbers and narrative. >> michael, let me ask you a question that i asked mark, why would rick santorum get out at any point before the convention? what could compel him to get out, if romney never gets to the delegates he needs and he can keep going, santorum, with money and support and keep picking off states, why would he get out? >> he wouldn't. there's no incentive designed into the system for him to get out or newt for that matter. newt made it very clear, we're going to compete in tampa. that doesn't sound like someone that will get out in the next couple weeks and we're down to four big events that we're gearing up for in this thing. we'll have a few more of those. i suspect california will be a big event but that's at the end of the game so the reality for someone like santorum is he's
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well positioned himself to stay competitive. he'll have newt nipping at his heels, there's no doubt about that, but i suspect if he gets the right momentum flow he'll pull some of that away from newt. >> speaking of supporters in the upcoming primary state of louisiana rick santorum said he'll continue to defy the odds in this race -- >> the time is now for conservatives to pull together, the time is now to make sure -- to make sure -- that we have the best chance to win this election and the best chance to win this election is to nominate a conservative to go up against barack obama who can take him on on every issue. >> we want to make sure that everybody knows, we're campaigning everywhere there are delegates because we are going to win this nomination before that convention. >> what will become a challenge is we'll now have three or four days in the news media who will say the same thing, why doesn't gingrich quit, who said last
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june i was dead. any recycle it every six weeks. between santorum and myself we'll get over two-thirds of the delegates and the so-called front runner will get less than one-third of the delegates. i think after the primary it will be apparent that the so-called front-runner didn't get there, and that will be a different conversation. >> he's staying in. mitt romney did not speak publicly after the polls closed last night but the campaign put out a statement congratulating rick santorum while quickly pivoting back to their lead in delegates. at 12:00, mitt romney had 377 delegates and they keep insisting that the math doesn't add up for rick santorum. >> rick santorum is at the end of his campaign and trying to boost his prospects and frankly misrepresenting the truth is not a good way of doing that. he's far behind in the delegate
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count. he's far behind in the popular vote count. if you look at the math and how many delegates he'd have to win to become the nominee, it's a very difficult road for him and so at this stage he's looking for some way to try and gain ground. i understand that, but i hope you'd use truth as one pillars of your strategy. >> michael steele, educate me on this point of the process. is that the best strategy to talk about math, because i feel like it's saying you have no other choice because the math is my direction even if you don't like me? >> and the delegates think otherwise and that's clearly the case right now. can you imagine what will happen you get to tampa and you have all the conservatives in the hall that will make the final decision? and that's what this could ultimately build into if romney isn't close to get to the 1144. the reality is looking at the number 401, add 382 that's the number of states that are left that are winner take all.
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how close are you now to 1144 when you've still got all these other proportional states? you need a big chunk of those states coming out, and santorum, again, keeps that momentum going which he will and newt will be sitting there -- newt right now is at this point, look, i want to block and tackle you out of position, romney. >> he's doing it. >> and he's doing a very effective job of it. >> mark, game this out a little bit. what's the most likely outcome? we go to illinois and if mitt romney wins there he'll gain another big victory, i'm the front-runner, everybody else get out of the way, but, again, he won't have the delegates, how do you see this playing out over the next weeks and months? >> look, as i said earlier, the conventional wisdom is gingrich being in hurts santorum. if you look at the exit polls santorum would get a lot of the gingrich vote but he wouldn't get all of it. a lot of them favor an establishment candidate and an economic conservative, not necessarily a social
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conservative, so gingrich i think will be marginalized now but i don't think he'll get out. and i am not sure he'll be fully marginalized, another guy taking a chunk of delegates keeping romney from getting to a majority overall. in santorum can win in illinois, romney will be facing the biggest crisis he's faced so far, if he's able to win illinois, it doesn't put anybody away. >> how possible is the brokered convention? it the echo chamber? >> more possible. >> the difference between the brokered convention where the party has a white knight who isn't in the contest, a contested convention where no one has 1144 and among the four they have to make deals in terms of delegates, that's i think now %g&?g)uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
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thing that happened in the last 24 hours, romney's argument that i'm going to have the most delegates and therefore everybody should give up, is on total deaf ears. that argument they tried for two weeks, they had a chance to succeed, it's dead. >> it's not working. >> it's dead. >> back in 2008 barack obama's team made a similar kind of argument but the difference was a lot of the democratic base loved barack obama. in this case romney is making a math argument when the vast overwhelming base does not want him and they are rebeffleing against that argument.
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don't tell us it's over and that math is on your side. this is about conviction and ideology, you are not going to deny us to register our disapproval or lack of affection for you, mitt romney, just because you say algebra is on your side. >> last night was significant especially given newt gingrich's showing in this. let's look at the exit polling, white evangelicals made up 80% of mississippi voters and 75% of alabama voters. rick santorum won this demographic with 35% support in boat sta both states. newt gingrich followed. in mississippi 39% said a candidate's ability to beat president obama was most important. mitt romney won this group with 46%. followed by newt gingrich with 30%. 22% of mississippi republicans said rick santorum has the best chance of winning in november. romney struggled to win over the republican base surfaced again last night with half the voters in mississippi and alabama saying the former massachusetts.
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>> what that tells me is the base is basically saying, this vote that i get on primary night is about what i want, what i feel, and how i feel about these candidates, so, yeah, you'll see santorum and others win. but when push comes to shove, if romney is the nominee, i'm going to vote for that nominee, because that's the guy i'm going to have to beat obama in the fall, so there's a bifurcation here where the base feels on the one hand i want to say this is who i really like, but i know at the end of the day i'll be standing there with romney, if that's who it is, up against obama. >> the 22%, mark, say, in mississippi, 22% say he has the best chance to beat president obama, that was less than gingrich and less than romney and yet he wins the state. >> amazing he can win the state with that number, right? santorum's speech last night was pretty good, he's still doing all this without running a particularly good campaign. he could have a sharper
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anti-romney message, he could be doing more to convince people he's more likable. he has room to grow. we pretty much know what mitt romney can do, and i think santorum can do more and he can be better in that area by saying i'm more compelling and i can beat obama. >> in mississippi voters acknowledged, mitt romney had bad turnout in the places where he needed the turnout voters and i think there are two words the most important words to remember here, spring break. you got a lot of people in mississippi over $100,000, that's mitt romney's core constituency, a lot of those people are away, a lot of those people are in jackson, oxford, they are in the panhandle taking a week off with their kids and the workplaces where the unusually low turnout happened in mississippi, i think it really hurt mitt romney. up next, we'll compare our picks for the final four with dick vitale. also it's shaping up to be a banner season on broadway. we'll look at why box office numbers and theater attendance is once again booming in the big apple.
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but, first, bill karins with a check on the forecast. >> i need help with the brackets. syracuse is in trouble. let me show you what will happen across the country this week. not a lot. we're looking at beautiful weather conditions. i want to give you one example of how the weather is not going to change this week. it will feel like summer in st. louis from today all the way through this weekend with temperatures in the low 80s. we'll have afternoon pop-up thunderstorms. so, across the nation the reason we're in such this warm weather pattern, the jet stream has retreated far to the north, like a summertime jet stream, the exception being the west coast which is cool and rainy, but everybody else east of the rockies, just soak this up. it's almost 60 degrees already this morning in chicago and the sun is barely up. down in the gulf it's fairly warm and more than a little humid. today's high temperatures, look at june, d.c. through chicago, 82 in kansas city today. still very warm in areas of new england where there's almost no snow left on the ground which is incredible. we're not even yet to st.
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paddy's day, and there's no snow. minneapolis, you'll be equally as warm. it is unprecedented for the middle of march. and i heard in d.c. the cherry blossoms are already starting to bloom. [ tom ] we invented the turbine business right here in schenectady. without the stuff that we make here, you wouldn't be able to walk in your house and flip on your lights. [ brad ] at ge we build turbines that power the world. they go into power plants which take some form of energy, harness it, and turn it into more efficient electricity. [ ron ] when i was a kid i wanted to work with my hands, that was my thing. i really enjoy building turbines. it's nice to know that what you're building is gonna do something for the world. when people think of ge, they typically don't think about beer.
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part of what makes this wonderful is not only that anybody at least at the start of this tournament has a dream about winning it, but, you know, the way it brings the country together and families and communities, people rooting for their alma mater. clark's got one of the better alma maters from ohio state, i'm actually picking them to go to the final four. >> is that right? >> so, they've got a great tradition, but everybody, including these two teams, are thinking maybe i'll be the cinderella this year and that's what makes it a great tournament. president obama speaking at halftime in the first four game in dayton, ohio, and joining us now, the moment we've been waiting for all morning, everything up to this point has been prelude, from the bradenton, florida, espn college basketball analyst, dick vitale, to share mayhem moments in the
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history of march madness, we'll get to those in just a minute. dick, good morning, great to have you with us. >> good morning, willie, great to be on with you and mika. it's right with all what obama was saying, unbelievable, march madness for three weeks is its best and it's march mayhem at its best and that's what they want to do is bring the mayhem moments. think about it, i go to bed, 25-point lead, iona is blowing it out, unbelievable and they get beat. that's march mayhem at its best. >> incredible start, and the game before that western kentucky was down 16 with five minutes to go and they come back to win. a lot of people watching this show, last minute, filling out the brackets, they want to know what should i do, what is dick vitale telling them in terms of a final four this year? >> well, let me tell you this, first of all, if you listen to me, you're in trouble, but i will tell you right now, i think, willie, i look right now that the goliath will ultimately
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prevail. i think we've seen the midmajors, shock, chasing that dream, the butlers, vcu, georgia mason, the davids beating the goliaths, so special, so unique, bring so much passion. but i think this year because the kids coming back to school that didn't go to the pros, one and done like barnes, certainly sullenger at ohio state, hanson at north carolina, i think the fact of the matter is when it's all said and done the goliaths will ultimately stand tall. i look right now if i go my final four, i go kentucky, i go missouri to beat michigan state, kentucky will beat duke i believe in the elite 8 and then i look at florida state, leonard hamilton's kids had them the other day in the acc tournament certainly beating north carolina and duke in 24 hours. i like them. syracuse gets a big blow, losing mello and i also like north
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carolina. i think when it's said and done, kentucky, north carolina, championship, it will be special in the big easy, the city. and i think all of the big blue nation will celebrate with the gold trophy. >> wow. >> i'm all fired up, willie! i'm all fired up! >> it's 8:20 and he's already going, you can't deep dick vitale down. you mentioned kentucky and you brought my alma mater into the conversation. my vanderbilt commodores beat kentucky on sunday. a lot of people are picking them, they are kind of a sexy final four team, what do you think about the vanderbilt team? >> let me tell you, this, i talked to the president during the break, he said you haven't donated in years, you better donate some cash. i'm always teasing you, willie. but vanderbilt was my pick on selection sunday, the team to beat syracuse, when with fab mello, they shoot the ball really well, jenkins is a
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terrific long-range shooter. taylor is athletic. zeale, the inside. and remember this, i looked at my preseason top ten, i had vanderbilt preseason top six, so they underachieved -- >> yeah. >> -- to this moment and now they are playing their best basketball. >> i think they are playing the way they thought they should since the top of the season. you are absolutely right about the president calling me and my lack of giving. what about the picks, you mentioned vcu a minute ago, who is the vcu this year potentially in the bracket? >> i like maurice state and i like wichita state. i think those teams can create a lot of havoc. very talented. you look at certainly murray state, i had their game, i went to razor nation and it was so special down there, they got a kid, isaiah cannon, phenomable player, he'll create march mayhem and he'll be an all-state march mayhem superstar, and
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wichita state defends well and they have a kid raglin that can shoot the ball and greg marshall's team knows how to win away from home and they defend. i think there are three major factors for people to look at. good play. they defend exceptionally well and they've got a star that can make big shots when the game's on the line. those are some of the factors i looked at in trying to analyze and evaluate a potential championship team. >> dick, i love hearing you say murray state. i picked them in my final four. i got kentucky, murray state, vanderbilt and a complete homer, i had to put them in there and north carolina. >> wow. >> i'm glad to hear you say that. >> hey, can you imagine the state of kentucky will be in a frenzy if those two ever play, kentucky and murray state. that state will be an unbelievable frenzy. >> unbelievable. all right, dick, we got mike barnicle with you, too. he wants to talk hoops. >> i love coach cal, i've known him a million years and i hope he's not upset.
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i have baylor and ohio state in my final four but i don't have kentucky in my final four. am i nuts? >> i don't know if you are nuts, mike, you are a boston superstar, i've read your column so many times. let me tell you this, baylor is a good team, but unfortunately they haven't come up in the big moment, barry jones has not made the big play at the right time. he's very, very talented, but i'm going to tell you, that's not a bad pick. certainly ohio state's not a bad pick. with sullenger, buford, and company, they got a great, great chance to make amends for not winning the big 10, because a lot of people projected them to win the big 10. those are pretty good picks, i have to respect those picks. >> i'm going to change my mind because of what dick said. he's influential with me. >> what he said in a polite way was picking baylor in your final four. all-state, you got to go right to the top with jimmie v.,
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right? >> obviously, jimmy v. cutting the nets down was certainly special. but his legacy, the $115 million raised for cancer research and anybody wants to help me, i have a big -- go to dickvitale.com and we are trying to raise money for kids with cancer and honor lou holt. but that was a special moment. beating a team like houston, that was an alstate moment. >> how about villanova, 1985? i don't think a lot of young people appreciate how big that upset was and how good that georgetown team was. >> oh, my gosh. >> patrick ewing, the dominating team. however, the kids, they pitched a perfect don larsen, perfect game. they shot, like, 70% in the second half. they were unbelievable. and that was a great, great
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magical moment. 1985. >> and this, dick, is the 20-year anniversary, if you can believe it, of christian laettner's shot against kentucky. >> well, you know, a lot of people were anticipating, i think the committee, you know, they say they used computers and tried this and tried that, i think they handpicked, they had the potential kentucky/duke matchup again in the elite 8. but this year there will be no christian laettner miracle shot. it was a great play. there's a great book out, a phenomenal book on the last shot, the last great game actually, and it really is a terrific book. >> it is. >> but that game is unreal. that is one of the greatest games in college basketball, how they dramatically won it with the grant hill pass to laettner, coach k. motivating and inspiring, that it's not over, and it was heartbreak lidell for rick pitino, who by the way, he coached up in boston, should
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have never went there, if he would have stayed at kentucky he'd have numbers right now like mike krzyzewski, and he belongs -- he belongs -- in the hall of fame. >> walking through that door anymore. >> no, he's not. >> dick vitale with the allstate mayhem moments. you saved mike barnicle's bracket, you helped a lot of us out today. you are great for the game of college basketball, and we love having you here, thanks for being here. >> willie, i will tell you one thing, i act 12 this time of the year. it's unbelievable, i will simply say all-state march mayhem, like you guys, man, they are awesome baby, the best of luck. do you know what, willie, i just found out, i found out why i got fired in the pros, mike barnes played like willie and mike, and i got ziggy, baby. >> you would get canned in a heartbeat with us running the show. >> dick vitale, great to see you, dick. enjoy the tournament. i don't have to tell you to do
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that, but have fun, dick, thanks. we'll see you. >> we'll get a t.o., baby, we'll get a t.o., willie. i want to go around the table and get your final four. michael steele, you have kentucky, florida state, and michigan, a lot of people have michigan and michigan state. >> i like to play on the perimeter. >> okay. mark halperin? >> kentucky, missouri, so far on the vitale program. ohio state, i think, it said ohio here, and north carolina. >> i'm for big veteran programs always. >> yeah. >> oneseys and twosies. >> and mark halperin, duke, wisconsin they'd have to get through vanderbilt in the second round, that won't happen. >> i have to get my alma mater. >> they would have to get through harvard in the second. >> harvard boys, and baylor -- >> kansas.
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>> i will go against your chemistry textbooks. >> i tried to go away from the vitale picks. >> he knows his stuff. >> i know he does. but i want to be contrarian. >> what's your final four? do you know what that is, mika? do you know what the final four is? >> yeah. kinda. all right, digger phelps will join us tomorrow on "morning joe," if you can match dick vitale's energy, i don't know if you can. we'll have digger phelps on. and coming up, what is behind the sudden boom in business on broadway? we'll be right back. today i'm talking to people about walmart's low price guarantee.
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♪ the night on broadway recession? what recession? if you're looking for signs of the improving economy, look no further than broadway. have you seen it? that's where business is as they say -- how do they say it? the >> boffo. >> overall for the 2010-2011 season, broadway ticketstime hi million tickets. and the box office grosses are
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up to 6.7%. and with us is jordan brot. so nice to have you here. >> nice to be here. >> you are adorable. >> i was talking to him in the green room, he's adorable. >> adorable is a good place to start. >> we'll start with adorable, we've buttered you up. >> what's going on with broadway, is it us, or is it an amazing time for broadway? >> it's a really robust time, we have 17 shows left to open in our season which ends the end of april, so in the next six weeks, 17 new plays and musicals will be opening on broadway. all kind of shows for all kind of interesting audiences at all kind of price points. and that conflagration has gotten us 6% growth last year over the year before and already we're 6% ahead on both growth and attendance. >> you talk about the different
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price points and the variety of shows, the conflagration as you called it, is that what got through the hard times? because wasn't broadway suffering several years back? >> the interesting thing about the recession, we were bracing for hellacious. and we were flat, but we weren't negative growth. and partly i think that has to do with the quality of the shows, all of the plays and musicals. the real excitement that people can have, and also the need for escape. >> yeah. >> maybe you're not going on your trip to london but you can come with your family for 2 1/2 hours and take a journey. and i think those two things helped us through the recession stay competitive. and now we're in a -- as an industry in a really great place for growth. >> wow.
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i want to talk about some of the plays on the horizon. >> i just want to ask you about "book of mormon." >> yeah. >> everybody talks about how great that play is. but it is. >> it's never a cliche. >> it's as good as they say. what has that show meant to broadway not just in terms of box office receipts but in the way broadway is perceived? >> yes. so, every once in a while there is a show that transcends broadway, that gets to people who are not necessarily looking for their next broadway show. "chorus line." >> right. >> "rent." >> uh-huh. >> "jersey boys." >> yeah. >> these are shows that reach to a much wider audience and bring people into the fold, and these are the kinds of shows that make the entire industry rise. because you come to "jersey boys" you come to "the book of
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mormon" you come to "rent" and you have a transforming experience and you look for your next one. >> yes, but did i make a mistake bringing my children? >> i say no. >> oh, god! >> they'll grow up quickly. >> i say no! >> okay. they were the only children in the room and everybody looked at me, my god. >> no, no, no. you have opened their horizons. >> oh, yes i have! yes i have! >> so, it's clearly a fact of box office life, then, that a great show like "mormons," "jersey boys" or whatever drives other people to other productions? >> it does. because you come. you are art of indoctrinated. coming to the theater is a magical experience. and once you come, once you experience it, you'll want it again. it's like a drug. a good drug. >> it's interesting you make that point because my first broadway experience was my
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freshman year in high school in washington, d.c., where i was a four-year member of the glee club, and so that sort of coming out of an urban community where i did not have that exposure really opened up an opportunity and it led to my doing a lot of theater and stage and stuff like that. and for this generation their equivalent is "glee" or "smash." >> yes. >> that you're opening up a whole new door for a younger, newer generation, a fresh generation, to come to that broadway experience. how have you found that translation of success of the "glee" -- which i love, by the way -- >> me, too. >> rachel has to work her stuff out, but she will, no problems. oh, yeah, we can break it down. santana, you go, girl. >> oh, my god! >> but the reality of it is, that helps bridge -- >> completely. >> -- the broadway to a new way of looking at theater. >> completely.
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those shows "glee," "smash," others, they are introducing the vocabulary. the notion that people bust into song when their emotions become high enough that they can't speak them, is a sort of vocabulary conceit that is a unique way of storytelling. >> i did that a lot as rnc chairman. >> well -- >> i broke into so much song. >> never go wrong by breaking into song. put that on a -- >> look at mitt romney when it does go wrong and just think. >> every once in a while. timing is right. timing is right. >> you got a show coming out the end of this month in which you were sort of thrust -- you kind of took it over at the last minute, tell us about it. >> indeed, it's "clyburn park" it's the 2011 pulitzer prize winning play. it is the most astounding piece i have ever seen. it is both profoundly
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provocative and gut-bustingly hysterical, and this is a mix that makes me happy. >> i love it. it deals with the issue of race? >> it does. it is -- it is inspired by "raising in the sun", of course, the landmark piece that opened two days ago 1959. that play was about an african-american family that was trying to buy a new home in a predominantly white neighborhood, and the white community association leader came to their house to try to convince them not to buy it. he failed. "cly "clybourne park" is set in the same community, and it starts coming into this family and trying to convince them to sell. and it's all about the
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unspokenness and what we mean and what we say when we talk about race. the second act -- >> don't give the whole show away now. >> oh, don't you worry. i'll only tease. the second act is set 50 years later. that house did sell. it's now an african-american community and a white family wants to buy the house. >> oh, okay. >> and the community doesn't want them to. and the sparks fly. >> predicting a smash hit? >> i am. it is a -- it's a remarkable experience for audiences and people walk out of it changed. >> "clybourne park" opens march 26th. jordan roth, you should come back. i wish we could get some sort of segment coming up here. >> the "morning joe" on broadway. >> i think there's a mix there. thank you very much. >> happy to see you all. when we come back, wall street looks to build on one of its biggest gains of the year, cnbc's michelle caruso-cabrera
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all right. at 47 past the hour, time now to get a check on business before the bell with cnbc's michelle caruso-cabrera live at cnbc headquarters, great to see you, michelle. >> good to see you. >> what are you here for? >> we're watching to see yet another day of gains after the big rally that got nasdaq above 3000 for the first time since 2000. we're seeing futures looking positive, not as strong as yesterday, but if we don't have a pullback from yesterday's gains, it will be a very, very good sign. what drove a lot of this is the bank stress tests results came out earlier than expected and this is the third time they tested the nation's banks. the first time was in 2009. the banks did very, very poorly. so, this test this time around was even harder. what happened if housing falls another 20%. what happens if unemployment
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goes up to 13%. what if the stock market were to fall 50%, could our nation's banks survive? and for the most part the answer is overwhelmingly absolutely yes, so we got a big, big rally on financial stocks yesterday and a big rally in the market. >> any headlines in what banks didn't pass? >> yeah, there were four banks, met life is actually an insurance company, for example, and none of them failed on all of the metrics, but we had ally which was the former troubled part of general motors, had a lot of their mortgages in there and they spun that off to get rid of it so that way the car company could be stand-alone and stronger. those are a couple of the companies that came forward, but not a single one failed on every metric, one metric here, one metric there and they have time to come back to the federal reserve and say here's how we'll fix that, so overwhelmingly, i think a really good showing. the other thing that will be talked about a lot today, the op-ed in "the new york times" why i'm resigning from goldman sachs today, goldman sachs will
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have to spend a lot of time defending their reputation after that. >> that is fascinating, michelle caruso-cabrera, i know you travel the world for your job, but come back and see us when you're in town. >> love to. >> thank you very much. up next, the best of late night. [ female announcer ] eyes feeling overworked? discover visine® tired eye relief with hydroblend™, only from visine®. just one drop instantly soothes and revives tired, overworked eyes. and comforts them for up to ten hours. visine® tired eye relief. try now and save $3.
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watch him punch holes in the president's so-called energy policy. >> look at his energy policy, what is his energy policy? you can't drive a car with a windmill on it. >> that's right, you can't drive a car with a windmill on it. because if you put a windmill on top of your car, then where does the dog go? here's what we're working on for eyewitness news first at 4, we'll tell you why victoria beckham says she's just like any other mother and could tight clothes be harming your health? we'll have a new report. and also the surprising number of people in one country who admit to sleeping with a teddy bear. ♪
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are you still sleeping? just wanted to check and make sure that we were on schedule. the first technology of its kind... mom and dad, i have great news. is now providing answers families need. siemens. answers.
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spiriva helps control my copd symptoms... by keeping my airways open a full 24 hours. plus, it reduces copd flare-ups. spiriva is the only once-daily inhaled copd maintenance treatment that does both. and it's steroid-free. spiriva does not replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms. tell your doctor if you have kidney problems, glaucoma, trouble urinating, or an enlarged prostate. these may worsen with spiriva. discuss all medicines you take, even eye drops. stop taking spiriva and seek immediate medical help if your breathing suddenly worsens, your throat or tongue swells, you get hives, vision changes or eye pain, or problems passing urine. other side effects include dry mouth and constipation. nothing can reverse copd. spiriva helps me breathe better. does breathing with copd weigh you down? ask your doctor if spiriva can help.
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time now to talk about what we learned today. what i learned is women on twitter like mike barnicle a
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lot. >> really? >> yes. >> whoa. >> i learned that michael steele is a true renaissance man. he is a defender of young men and now you learned today, sexy, too. >> i know. >> i learned that broadway is alive and well. >> what jordan roth said. >> okay, i'm not sure you can say that. >> and men on twitter like mike barnicle even more. >> really, guys, if it's way too early -- >> did we learn anything? >> you are not even supposed to be here today. >> why am i here? >> so, is that official that you didn't learn anything? >> i learned to show up on time or somebody eats my blueberry muffin. >> willie, i